United to offer Istanbul nonstops


United plans to launch daily nonstops from Newark to Istanbul, beginning July 1, subject to government approval. The carrier plans to use 767-300 aircraft in a three-class configuration seating 183, switching in August to a two-class layout with 30 in BusinessFirst and 184 in economy and Economy Plus.

Etihad Airways eyes Washington route
Etihad Airways plans to launch daily nonstop service between Washington and Abu Dhabi early next year. The route, to begin March 31, 2013, pending regulatory approval, will be flown using three-class Airbus A340-500 aircraft, offering a total of 3,360 seats per week. Washington will be the fourth North American destination for the United Arab Emirates-based carrier, which already serves Chicago, New York and Toronto.

Radisson to erase Edwardian brand
All Radisson Edwardian hotels in the U.K. will be rebranded Radisson Blu properties by midyear, bringing the total number of Radisson Blu hotels in the U.K. to 40 and bringing an end to the Radisson Edwardian brand, founded in 1977. The brands are globally managed by Carlson Rezidor.

St. Croix tables cruise tax plan
A committee of the U.S. Virgin Islands legislature put an indefinite hold on a proposed $1-per-passenger tax on cruise lines calling at St. Croix. Opponents, including the Department of Tourism and the port authority, told the Senate Committee on Finance it would jeopardize the recovery of cruising in St. Croix.

Construction snags delay Viking ships
Citing construction delays, Viking River Cruises canceled five cruises in March and April on the 190-passenger Viking Njord and Viking Freya, two of the six 190-passenger Viking Longships it is introducing this year. Slated for March inaugurals, the ships will now debut on April 15 and April 18, respectively. Guests on the canceled cruises are being offered full refunds or alternate itineraries. Commissions are protected. Sister ships the Viking Idun and Viking Odin will sail their inaugural cruises as scheduled on March 23 and March 24, respectively. Two more, the Viking Embla and Viking Aegir, arrive in July and August.

Celebrity adds ship to U.K. lineup
Celebrity Cruises will move the 2,050-passenger Celebrity Infinity to England in the summer of 2013, boosting its capacity in the market by 70%. Cruising from Harwich, the ship will offer British Isles and Norwegian fjord itineraries, which will be published in a few weeks. The Infinity joins the 2,852-passenger Celebrity Eclipse, which will operate from Southampton on 14-day cruises to Iceland and the Norwegian fjords, and Scandinavia and Russia. The Harwich deployment brings to six the number of Celebrity ships that will operate in Europe next year.

Google flight tool gets mobile app
Google created a mobile version of its Flight Search tool, available as a free app for Android and Apple iOS devices. Google said the mobile version offers all the benefits of the desktop search tool, which it introduced in September.

Friends & Colleagues

Tony Rodio has been named president and COO of Tropicana Entertainment. Rodio is currently the president and CEO of the company's Tropicana Casino and Resort Atlantic City, a role he will continue to fill. Tropicana Entertainment owns and operates nine casinos and resorts in the U.S. and Aruba. • • • The luxury tour operator Travcoa appointed Cathy Holler vice president for business development and product innovation. Prior to the appointment, Holler spent three months with Travcoa in the role of management consultant. Holler is the founder and former president of Blue Ice Communications, a tourism consultancy, and her industry experience includes a five-year stint with Virtuoso. • • • El Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels and Azul Hotels by Karisma, a collection of inclusive properties in Mexico's Riviera Maya region, named Luis Mendez director of meetings and incentives. Mendez formerly was head of mainland sales for the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau. Prior to that, he was director of sales and marketing for the InterContinental San Juan Resort & Casino. • • • Online vacation rental site HomeAway has promoted Bill Furlong to vice president of HomeAway Software for Professionals. He maintains his existing responsibilities as general manager. Prior to HomeAway, Furlong was the CEO of vacation rental software provider Escapia, which HomeAway acquired in October 2010.

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